Leaked: Obama calls Trump’s handling of pandemic a ‘chaotic disaster’

Former president Barack Obama has launched a scathing attack on Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, calling it an 'absolute chaotic disaster'.

Leaked: Obama calls Trump’s handling of pandemic a ‘chaotic disaster’

In a leaked web call Friday night with former members of his administration, Obama also said the Justice Department’s decision to drop charges against Michael Flynn, the former Trump national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia probe, endangers the rule of law in the US.

In the audio, first obtained by Yahoo News, Obama urges former staffers to join him in rallying behind Joe Biden as he prepares to take on Trump in the November presidential election.

The United States (US)by far leads the world in the number of coronavirus infections, at nearly 1.3 million, and deaths, with more than 77 000.

Trump ‘abdicating leadership role’

Trump has been criticised as essentially abdicating any leadership role in guiding the country through one of its worst crises in a century, leaving states on their own to grapple with the pandemic and even bid against each other to obtain critical medical equipment on the open market or abroad.

Critics say Trump, after first downplaying the threat posed by the virus, squandered precious time in February as the pathogen spread in America and his administration did little to stock up on testing kits and other medical gear or to develop a cohesive national strategy. 

With an eye to re-election, the president has also been blasted as putting his own political interests before human life by aggressively pushing states to reopen their devastated economies without a clear blueprint for how to do it safely.

‘Being selfish, being tribal’

“What we’re fighting against is these long-term trends in which being selfish, being tribal, being divided, and seeing others as an enemy — that has become a stronger impulse in American life,” Obama told his former staffers.

“It’s part of the reason why the response to this global crisis has been so anemic and spotty,” Obama said.

“It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been an absolute chaotic disaster when that mindset — of ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘to heck with everybody else’ — when that mindset is operationalised in our government,” he said.

Obama said that the dropping of charges against Flynn was ominous.

“That’s the kind of stuff where you begin to get worried that basic — not just institutional norms — but our basic understanding of rule of law is at risk,” he said.

Obama endorsed Biden’s candidacy last month and has said he would be deeply involved in his campaign against Trump. 

He told the Obama Alumni Association: “I am hoping that all of you feel the same sense of urgency that I do.”

— By © Agence France-Presse

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Isn’t it high time we personalised productivity?

Productivity has become quite the misunderstood buzzword these days, thanks to hustle culture.

Isn’t it high time we personalised productivity?

The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of The South African

I say it’s misunderstood because while it actually means working smart, for most people, it means working hard. To make things worse, one is considered worthy only if one is as busy as possible. This translates to working yourself to the bone and boasting about it as if it were an achievement. 

Whether you want to blame this toxic mentality on capitalism or Silicon Valley’s burnout-promoting culture, the end result is that if you want to get ahead in your career today, you have to rise and grind. Or at the very least, you have to put on a show if you don’t want to be seen as lazy or unambitious. It’s a dull way to exist, but most of us have given in to the pressure by prioritising work before everything else.

Think about it: Why should productivity be standardised?

We are all unique individuals, so how can there be a universal, one size fits all measure for efficiency? In fact, it is quite rigid to have a set barometer for it. And doesn’t everyone who values freedom want a flexible lifestyle? 

Imagine a world in which productivity is personalised. Where the two hours of work you put in matter just as much as the four hours your colleague puts in. Sounds unrealistic? Well, it’s anything but. It’s a basic human right that is long overdue.

It’s not hard to practise this if we all come to terms with the fact that everyone has different levels of mental and physical energy. Owing to factors like age, marital status, parenthood, capabilities, and disabilities, each individual has different levels of priorities and responsibilities. Therefore, the number of hours one works should be in accordance with their personal life. If we want work-life balance in the true sense of the term, this is the only way to achieve it.

And let’s face it, in the name of hustling, many of us often end up doing busywork 

Is there any point in wasting our most precious resource, time, simply to earn some worthless brownie points at the workplace? Now that we are in the middle of a deadly pandemic with no known cure, our time here on earth has become all the more valuable. Indeed, many of us have realised how short and uncertain our lives really are. The “seize the day” school of thought has never been more relevant. If our present situation teaches us anything, it is that we should never take our mortality for granted.

Alas, we are still ruled by capitalism and the ruthless 1% that rules, or rather, exploits the world. Even with the rise of automation, it might take years for this ideology to catch on. Until then, the rebels amongst us can set an example if we are privileged enough. If not, we can only dream of a world where we do not have to trade in individual freedom and me time to make a decent living. 

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking to contribute to The South African, read more here.

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